Modern British Art by John Moody: Houlgate, late Evening with sunlit clouds and low horizon, 6th September 1926 |





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John Moody:
Houlgate, late Evening with sunlit clouds and low horizon, 6th September 1926

Framed (ref: 4712)

Signed and inscribed on reverse, Houlgate, 6 Sept 26
Oil on panel, 6 1/2  x  8 3/4 in. (16 x 22 cm.)

Tags: seascapes and skyscapes

John Moody's painting spree in Houlgate (Calvados Dept of Normandy) was motivated by light. His paintings on both sides of the Channel coasts around this time are literally filled by light - huge skies, seascapes, white cliffs and rolling sand dunes. You are made to feel the rush of air, the smell of the sea and the reflection of light off water. He was 20 in 1926 when the Houlgate sketches were undertaken. Two years later his Knocke series, on the Belgian coast, retain similar characteristics whilst adopting  a slightly surreal imagery.

'Jack,' as he was better known, took every opportunity to paint and draw when he was young, causing his parents to wonder if he'd ever find a way to earn any money. A letter from a family friend in December 1926 cautions him on life as an artist: "I am very interested in seeing that you have taken up lettering and I congratulate you on your success. I think you have done a wise and practical thing in taking up commercial art, but it would be a pity if you did nothing else. At the start I am afraid you can't live on doing work that will live, but you may live on doing work that will not live."

By 1930 Jack, as a founder member of the New Kingston Group, was exhibiting work around the country and in 1931 was teaching Architecture and Perspective at the Wimbledon School of Art. Facing penury however he enrolled as a singer at the Webber Douglas School of Singing which was to draw him inexorably into theatre life - and eventually into the world of opera, for which he is best remembered. He never lost his love of painting.

We are grateful to Richard Thompson for the above catalogue note


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